An Extensive Guide to Progressive Web Apps
For the past several years, the way we access the internet has significantly changed. Now, mobile phones generate 51.53% of global website traffic. The world is becoming more mobile and we get more accustomed to consuming internet data on the go.
This change brings mobile and web technologies to a new level. New cutting-edge solutions appear facilitating business-customer interaction and enhancing end-user experience. One of these latest trends is progressive web apps (PWA). These apps represent a perfect blend of web and native apps. It means that they are easier to access and navigate while cheaper for companies to develop.
In this guide, we’ll uncover:
- What are PWAs?
- How do PWAs work?
- Benefits of progressive web apps over mobile apps.
- Common PWA development tools.
Download a PDF version of the guide here.
What Are Progressive Web Apps?
In short, a progressive web app (PWA) is a type of a web app that includes a combination of various technologies, design concepts, and Web APIs that provide user experience similar to native mobile apps. It means that PWAs use web technologies in their core while performing the same functionalities and providing native-like experience.
The idea of blending web and native apps in PWAs was first presented by Google in 2015 and since then their popularity is constantly growing. Many companies state that PWAs helped them to double user activity and increase their conversion rates.
How Do PWAs Work?
The most striking feature of all PWAs is that they run in a web browser. Web browsers work as virtual machines for these apps, they run PWAs in their environments. While native apps require Android or iOS operating systems to launch, PWAs need only a browser.
Most of the web browsers support PWAs. However, some are just working on integrating the technology (Internet Explorer or Safari), while others have already implemented it (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Edge, and Brave).
PWA architecture includes:
Web App Manifest
Web App Manifest is the JSON file that determines the main parameters of a PWA. For example, it can define an app’s name in a browser, what app icon to use, how PWA will be displayed, and many other features. App Manifest installs PWA on a mobile screen as a standalone application.
HTTPS protocol ensures that the data a user sends via PWAs is secure. HTTPS encrypts the data with the SSL protocol. It means that software engineers can use PWA to create banking or finance apps where personal data encryption is vital.
Push notification is a small popping up message on a website. It usually allows users to install an app on their mobile screen and subscribe for new updates and notifications. Afterward subscription notifications with the latest news and updates will occasionally appear on a user’s device even without visiting the website.
Benefits of PWAs over Mobile Apps